National Reference Test 2024: Information for Markers

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    National Reference Test - General Information

What is the purpose of the National Reference Test?

Ofqual’s National Reference Test (NRT) was introduced to provide additional information to support the awarding of GCSEs. The design of the NRT means that it provides robust national data on student ability in a specific year as well as evidence of how performance has changed over time. 

Each year the results of the NRT are considered by Ofqual and the exam boards prior to GCSEs in English language and maths being awarded. Results from the NRT may be used to inform standard setting in these subjects. This happened for the first time in 2019. 

More information about the NRT is available here. Ofqual has appointed NFER to develop, administer and analyse the test on its behalf.

How have schools been selected to take part?

Schools have been selected as part of a sample to participate in the statutory NRT, which will take place in the spring term of 2024. The school sample is designed to be nationally representative of the secondary school population and is based on school size and prior GCSE results.  

What is the composition and timing of the tests? 

The English test will comprise a reading and a writing component. For both the English and maths tests, the test lasts one hour.  

The test has been carefully designed to be accessible to all eligible students. Students will be asked to make their best attempt at the whole test. The test has a look and feel that is similar to the GCSEs and the content of the test is based on the GCSEs to be awarded in summer 2024. 

What is the role of the marker?  

Markers will be appointed by NFER to undertake the marking of the English reading, English writing and mathematics tests. Markers must have experience of teaching and marking the relevant subject at key stage 4 and will be required to attend a training day on Saturday 2 March 2024 remotely, i.e., from home. Following the training day, marking will be carried out at home using NFER’s online marking system. Markers will be assigned to teams and will be supported by a supervisory marker throughout the process. All markers must pass a standardisation exercise before progressing to marking of live tests and the quality of their marking will be frequently audited and monitored throughout the marking period. 

Markers must be able to commit to being available for the whole of the marking period: from Sunday 3 March to the end of Sunday 17 March 2024 and expect to work around 2-3 hours per day.

Applications to be a marker can be made here. The closing date is 31 December 2023 or once at full capacity. 

What is the remuneration rate?  

Markers should expect to receive a payment in the range of £1.80 and £2.50 per script.  

Confidentiality and Conflicts of Interests 

The security of the test materials is paramount. All selected markers are required to sign a confidentiality agreement before attending the training session to pledge that their knowledge of the content of the tests will remain confidential. They are also asked to identify any conflicts of interests in schools and examination boards and inform NFER if, subsequently, they are approached by anyone in any regard in connection with their marking of the NRT. 

Disclosure and Barring Service  

All successful markers are required to provide proof of valid basic or enhanced DBS certification, issued in the last three years (since 17 March 2021). Applicants who do not have valid DBS certification, will be provided with a link to the application and will need to obtain a certificate, at their cost.  

Right to Work 

All successful applicants are required to provide proof of right to work in the UK (if not already provided to NFER).  

How will NFER use and protect your data?  

All the information provided will be held securely by NFER whether the information is in electronic or physical format. NFER do not collect more information than is necessary to fulfil their stated purposes and will not retain it for longer than is necessary.  

The full privacy notice for this project can be found here. For more general information about the National Reference Test, please visit this page.

If you have any questions or queries about making the NRT, please contact NFER via email at [email protected]